Birth of a Beer Style: The Hazy IPAtaylor-brewvana
The Alchemist is a family-owned brewery located in Waterbury, Vermont. It was founded in 2003 by John and Jen Kimmich, a dynamic husband and wife duo. In 2004, The Alchemist released Heady Topper, a beer that defined an entirely new style: the New England IPA.
Heady Topper is an unfiltered IPA that rests at a healthy 8% ABV. Brewed with a six-hop blend and a rare, exclusive yeast, this beer graces its consumers with tropical fruit flavors and loads of hop aroma. Reaching stardom through word of mouth alone, it drew the blueprint for the New England IPA style we know and love today. Also known as “Hazy IPA,” this cloudy, juicy ale has been adopted by breweries, small and large, and has established itself as a major player in taprooms and on store shelves nationwide.
Heady Topper has always created a stir, both for its merit and its rarity. The beer is one of the few that has earned a 100/100 score on Beer Advocate. For more than 15 years, the beer was only available in Vermont. The reins were slightly loosened in the spring of 2020 when Heady Topper was made available in Massachusetts. Fans have done some wild things to get their hands on a can… even the empty ones!
But the New England style IPA is only one thing The Alchemist is known for. After eight booming running a successful a brewpub, the Kimmiches watched as Hurricane Irene ripped through Waterbury. The storm caused so much damage to the brewpub, the couple decided to take their passion in a slightly different direction. They closed the brewpub, and put all of their focus into a cannery. Five years later, yet another expansion came to be: In addition to the Waterbury cannery, the Alchemist Brewery & Visitor’s Center opened in Stowe, VT in 2016.
Today, The Alchemist’s foray into unfiltered IPA territory has made them heroes among men. The freshness and quality of their ales make them leaders in the craft beer world, but that’s not the only thing they’re known for. The Alchemist stands on four pillars: Art, Community, Sustainability, and Inclusivity; and is dedicated to social and environmental progress.
You can count on them for incredible can art, merch, and original works that bring their spaces to life. Their local events and consistent community engagement make them a hotspot in their community, and they strive to make that community an inclusive one, taking action with their non-profit partnerships and anti-racist agenda.
A special-focus on sustainability is especially important for any brewery, with brewing being the high impact industry it is. Their water waste reduction, solar energy, and net zero trash-free initiatives work to combat that impact. Read more about their comprehensive sustainability initiatives at alchemistbeer.com/sustainability.